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Codex on Flight, folio 15v

Wire-controlled Bird

At first glance it appears as a silhouette of a bird hanging from some ropes. It is actually an instrument invented to detect and analyze the position of the center of gravity of a bird or a flying machine.

Leonardo, by unbalancing the weight of the structure, studied solutions to bring it back into equilibrium. He almost certainly made this device and it is likely that he used it to determine the position of the center of gravity of his flying machine.
The study of flight had at this stage reached a very advanced phase, and Leonardo well understood that a machine, though perfect, could never fly if its center of gravity was not positioned at the correct point.
L3 Collection
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